Monday, April 30, 2012

Oklahoma City Half Marathon Fun

So Monday I either sprained or twisted my ankle about 2/3 of the way into class, (it was an awesome class, at least 20 ladies and I'm pretty sure most of the class had fun!), I managed to fake it through the rest of class. It was a very mild injury, but bad enough that I took off from everything except teaching my classes for the week.  That means, yup, 3 missed training runs this week.  Since I've taken so much time off  running due to the knee pain I've been dealing with, I was kinda freaking out about the upcoming half marathon.  If nothing else, however, I was up to date on my long runs.  Friday, I started to go for a run to loosen up and reassure myself that I could still run; then my ankle started hurting so I decided to hold off.  I did go to the Health and Fitness Expo to pick up packets and to try and get a good deal on a pair of Newton's running shoes.  I had heard from a couple of workout buddies that they were really great for people with bad knees and that they have a long life span.  The guy working the booth had me remove my shoes and socks so he could watch me walk to see which shoe I needed.  I immediately started sweating and got really nervous.  It's ridiculous the things that I'm self conscious about, I even nervously laughed and said something along the lines of "Gee, I should have gotten a pedicure."  It was so awkward and I felt so silly.  He first watched me walk across the floor and then run and from that he derived a recommendation.  I ended up buying the pair of shoes that he recommended and I received a $25 discount along with a free pair of socks.  The great thing about that particular running store is that you have 30 days to test run the shoes and if they don't work out for you, you get a refund!  I thought that was pretty awesome!  The guy was nice enough to even give me a bit of running advice about my form and such.  I also bought a few GU packets to make sure I had enough for the race on Sunday.  I continued about my way and found this fun booth:
I loved them all and it was so hard to choose which ones to get, but I ended up with "Sweat is my Fat Crying" (in honor of my Body Pump ladies which is where I first heard that quote), "I Run so I Can Drink" (in honor of post race beer and mimosas!), and "Eat. Sleep. Run." (in honor of Ragnar, of course!).  I really wish I had also gotten the "Run, Bitch, Run" one and the "Eat Hard. Run Hard." one, too.  But I feel like I've been spending SO much money lately and I had to draw a line somewhere...  But the "Eat Hard. Run Hard." is really one I can associate with.  Then I stopped at the sports sunglasses booth, too.  I've been wanting to get a pair of sunglasses for running, but they always seem so high at the athletic stores, so I was quite happy to find a functioning pair for only $15.  After the expo, Mark, the kiddo and I had dinner with Mark's sister (who came up for the half marathon!) and some of his other family.

Saturday was pretty uneventful, I slept way in since I knew I'd be getting up at the ass crack of dawn to run 13.1 miles the next day.  I knew I needed to go for a short run to loosen up my muscles in prep for the race, so I strapped on my new shoes, wore one of my new bondi-bands and wore my new shades and took off out the door for a short 3-miler.  I stuck to a nice, easy pace and thoroughly enjoyed the run.  The weather was beautiful, the air a bit thick but my breathing was okay, I felt like I was running on air with those shoes and my shades didn't fog up at all!  It was great to get out and stretch my legs and feel the sweat/burn!  And I loved the band, it seriously soaked up all my sweat and didn't feel at all nasty or stuffy!  I ended up running the 3 miles in 29 minutes, I was quite pleased since I was shooting for easy and slow.
You can't see the shoes, but they're there!
I then did laundry and Mark and I went to run errands one of which was to buy an armband for my I-Pod.  Later that night we had spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner, at least half of my meal was fresh broccoli and cherry tomatoes with light ranch and a cup of steamed broccoli.  That's how I carb load when I'm a good girl! :-p  I tried so very hard to get to bed early that night, but that runner's anxiety set in, of course, and I ended up tossing and turning all night.  I think I only got between 3.5 and 4 hours of sleep by the end of it all.
The alarm went off way too early Sunday morning (4:30) and I snoozed it for 15 minutes and jumped out of bed at 4:45.  Apparently I got up way later than everyone else I was running "with", both my sister-in-law's group and my coworker that was running it woke up at 4:00.  Unfortunately, my ankle already hurting when I got out of bed.  I was so nervous, I felt my blood pulsing in my body and the adrenaline just kept rushing.  I felt so wired, yet sleepy, it's quite a bizarre feeling.  I ate a small bowl of cereal with half a banana and drank a couple cups of coffee.  My SIL called me at 5:00 (after already trying to call me a couple times) and was apparently stressing about me not answering before because I should have gotten up earlier.  So on top of the anxiety I was feeling from getting ready to go run a race that I was not at all prepared for due to skipping runs because of my dang knees and ankle, I started freaking out because I was running late.  I taped up my foot, strapped on my ankle brace, pulled on a couple of knee braces (for precautionary sake), grabbed my gear and headed out.  I flew through town which was fairly busy for being so early, to my bank so I could get some cash for parking and flew down the highway in a fit of nervous frenzy.  On the way over, I called my coworker to see where he was at and how it was looking downtown.  Apparently it was craziness and traffic and parking was insane.  So I opted to park at my office and just jog down to the start line.  I made the obligatory stop at a porta potty and tried calling my SIL and coworker to find out where they were.  I tell you what, people kept talking about how big the OKC Memorial Marathon was and about how many participants there were past years (29.000) and I suppose it just never clicked.  I was floored by how many people were there, 27,000 just doesn't sound like what it IS like.  I eventually found the corrals and holy cow!  Masses of people, everywhere.  They even had the start line gated off for quite some distance back.  It was so chaotic and seemed like there was no sort of organization at all.  Just after I got into the corral gates they started closing and locking them all while there were still runners gathered up.  It was insane!  People were climbing the fences to get in and people were pushing through the gates before they shut them and no one seemed to know what corral we were in.  There was no way I was going to find either my SIL or my coworker so I just wished them both good luck and focused on mentally preparing for the start.  After the gun went off it took me 10 minutes to even get to the start line.

Just to give you a small idea...
Immediately after I started actually running I looked around to find someone to pace with, I found a couple of older men that looked like well seasoned runners holding what seemed like a good pace.  I decided to stick with them.  Damn near right off the bat there was a really steep hill to run up and there were a couple other hills throughout the course.  For some reason I had the idea that the course would be relatively flat, luckily where I run there are several hills so it wasn't too big of a deal. After mile 3 or 4, I realized the men in front of me were running at a pace quite a bit slower than what I was used to, and that perhaps it would be a good idea to pass them over and find someone else to keep pace with.  Sure enough when we got to a clock it showed my pace of somewhere around 12 minute+ miles, I couldn't believed I hadn't realized how slow I was running.  My ankle was in a good amount of pain from the beginning of the race, but I couldn't not do the race, I had made committments, I had paid the registration fees, I had picked up the shirt and by golly I was sure looking forward to mimosas afterwards!  ;)  So I pushed through it.  All along the route people had chairs and little spots set up in front of their houses to cheer on the runners.  There was a huge support and cheer group for all of us runners, it was really quite moving.  There were even several spots along the way where people had liquor booths set up!  If you can believe it!  I walked through all the water breaks and a couple times I walked a few paces when my ankle started really getting to me.  But then the endorphins kicked in and I felt a rush, almost like the beginning of a runner's high, so I started back up and kept at it.  My theory is that since I was in pain my body was creating an extra amount of endorphins to keep me going... isn't that the science of how it works?  *Please, please, please, don't get me wrong.  I would never recommend that someone over train or run with an injury.  You could definitely develop a serious perhaps even permanent injury if you don't follow your body's instincts.  I just knew that the sprain/twist/w/e the hell I did to my ankle was minor and felt confidant that with rest after the race I would be fine.  DO NOT use me as an example when conducting your own training, only you (or your doctor) can tell how much your body can handle!*  There were a ton of kids standing at the sidelines with their hands out for high fives, which at first annoyed me because I felt guilty for not partaking, but then I decided that so long as I didn't completely stop, I'd be okay to swing by a kid for a high five, and the smile on that little girl's face was definitely worth the veer off.  Then at what was called Gorilla Hill there were a group of kids dressed up in banana costumes and dancing around.  Way cute!  There was also a guy dressed up as a teletubby and dancing around in his driveway that was not at all cute, but a more like a bit creepy.  It started raining the last 3 or 4 miles, which wasn't too bad except that I worried about my I-Pod getting ruined, but I couldn't stop to protect it.  I felt as if I stopped I would never make it, so I just kept going and prayed that my I-Pod would stay in one piece.  When I finally passed the 12 mile marker, people kept shouting that we were almost there and to keep it up!  Great job, etc., etc.  My thoughts kept going back to "Define almost".  How close is "almost there"?  Are we talking about 1/4 mile... 1/3... 1/2...?  Finally, we got to a guy that was shouting, "less than half a mile, less than half a mile guys, you can do it!"  and suddenly I felt a lot better, that meant less than 5 minutes and even less time if I picked it up.  So  I looked ahead at the Finish Line and busted ass to get there.  I surprised myself with how fast I made it to the Finish Line and how I felt like I might have been able to keep going if it  hadn't have been for my ankle.  This realization made me a bit disappointed in myself especially once I found out that my time was 2:28.  I just keep telling myself that a.) I was injured; b.) I was running on less than four hours of sleep; and c.) I did not get trained up properly for the race.  Even under those circumstances I ended up being in the 43rd percentile for women and 54th percentile overall, so I'm okay.  After the race was just as hectic and chaotic as before.  I accidentally left the area in search of water and I was informed that I wouldn't be allowed back in, so I snuck around a security guard so I could get a bottle of water and an ice pack for my ankle.  I called my SIL and coworker and arranged to meet my SIL and her group of people for breakfast right down the street and wished my coworker a good day.  He was definitely not down for going to eat and celebrate.  I ended up walking about 2 miles to get back to my car after getting turned around and disoriented by masses of people.  I finally made it to the restaurant where we celebrated with mimosas and an awesome breakfast.  For the first time after a long run I actually had an appetite!  My SIL had to get our official post race picture as soon as I got there.
Best post race picture to date!
After breakfast, part of the group dispersed and the rest of us walked over to McNellie's to drink some beer.  After all the socializing, my SIL and I got to do some sisterly bonding over another drink on the way to dropping her off.  (I'll use this time to make note that I did not at any point get drunk, nor do I condone drunk driving.  For the record.)  I finished running around 9 and got to the restaurant 10 till 10:00 and didn't get home till 3:30 pm.  I was exhausted!  I was so tempted to take a nap, but I knew this was a bad idea because then I would not sleep that night and alas I did indeed have to go to work on Monday.  Instead I vegged out on the couch after a nice hot shower and we got BBQ for dinner.  Eventually I made it to bed in one piece, albeit a tad delirious. Sunday was by far the worst actual race as far as the running part went.  The pain was hard to ignore, but the course was really nice and the fellowship and camaraderie of the event was awesome.  And on the other hand, it was by far the best race day I've had yet.  It was nice to be amongst other runners and to celebrate with them in the best way possible:  with food and drinks!  I can't wait until the next big race event, it will be twice as good, I can feel it! 

11 comments:

  1. Love, love, love it! I can't wait to run with you!

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  2. Thank you! We're going to have a blast!!!

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  3. I found your blog from the Ragnar Relay. You are such an inspiration! You are so adorable! And with me being a born Okie, what's not to love? I look forward to following your continued journey!

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    1. Thank you so much, I'm glad you found me!

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  4. Great story! Found you through the ranger relay team, just like the others you are amazing!
    I too participated in my first mini 4-28! KY Derby, I was completely (literally) unprepared from training, sleep,health and nutrition but I had to do it! I was so sore on Sunday! By Monday I was looking for the next race to enter! I am not a runner YET, I will be soon! I will proudly place my 13.1 sticker on my car (now that I realize it has nothing to do with the bible)
    Blessings to you and your efforts to be the best you can be!

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    1. Thank you! Congratulations on your accomplishment! I think any amount of running makes you a runner! ;) I can't wait to hear about your next race!

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  5. congratulations on your finishing your race despite the pain!

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  6. was that the Bondi Band booth? we get custom Bondi Bands for each of our Ragnar teams. Join us in Napa Valley Ragnar if you want!!
    http://www.digitalrunning.com/events/2012-napa-valley-ragnar-relay/

    (Our other teams are already full...)

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    1. It was the Bondi Band booth, I immediately fell in love!

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